One of the things I often reflect upon when reading the New Testament is the number of partnerships in ministry that we find. It seems that rarely, if ever, is there someone out there on their own ministering away to the faithful. In the letters of Paul there are constant references to his companions and we all know that Jesus surrounded himself with twelve apostles and still other disciples.

I think that this should cause us to seriously look at the way we do ministry today. Too often I hear priests complain about the loneliness of their ministry. Perhaps there are changes needed at the formation level, but leaving that aside. Perhaps we should be encouraging our priests to spend more time sharing with one another and in groups of their peers in order to support and strengthen one another. Perhaps we cannot change the way that priests are formed in the seminary but we can certainly try to encourage them to work with others in their ministries.

I was listening to a teaching tape many years ago when I heard the speaker say, “There is no such thing as a Lone-Ranger style Christian.” How true this ultimately is – we may be able to sustain a individual ministry for a time but we will eventually suffer from burnout or disillusionment. Both of these two problems can be avoided if we learn to minister together with others. With mutual support and care we can avoid many of the pitfalls of a ministerial life and we will ultimately have longer-lasting and more effective ministries as well! It makes sense to work with others, as you never have to bear the burden of ministry alone!

Paul and Barnabas worked together for some time before they fell out with one another over the issue of the presence of John Mark with them. This sort of thing happens today but hopefully we will be able to avoid major disagreements and splits by remaining committed to sharing our lives and thoughts with one another. It takes a lot of effort to do this well, but the rewards of doing it are well worth the costs. I am sure that there will be great benefits for the Kingdom of God if we learn to work with and support fellow ministers more closely. Jesus certainly knew the need for this, as did Paul and so many others who have followed in their footsteps.

Do I work well with others in ministry? How can I improve the level of cooperation in the ministries with which I am involved?

Holy Spirit, you were sent to me by the Father and the Son together. Help me to realize that when I minister the Gospel to others I do so in your power, with your guidance and strength to help me. Teach me how to work better with others in this mission.